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Music labels take (more) Irish ISPs to court

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The Big Four music labels want every ISP in Ireland to adopt a "three strikes" policy against repeated illegal file-sharers, and they intend to sue until they get their way.

With Ireland's top internet provider, Eircom, having already bowed to the music industry's demands to cut off service to accused offenders, the labels are moving down the line with court proceedings against two more major ISPs.

Separate cases were entered into Ireland's Commercial Court on Monday against the country's second largest telco, BT Communications Ireland, and its largest cable operator, UPC Communications Ireland.

The cases stem from a settlement agreement between Eircom and the Irish Recorded Music Association — representing EMI, Sony, Universal and Warner Music — in which the telco agreed to implement a "three strikes" rule, where subscribers get their internet service cut off if they are detected infringing copyright three times. Eircom also agreed to block any website the music industry forbids, such as the Pirate Bay, as part of the settlement.

IRMA then sent a nastygram to other Irish ISPs warning they must all follow suit or be sued for facilitating copyright infringement themselves.

According to the Irish Times, BT and UPC both rejected the music industry's legal threats. BT said it couldn't agree because the deal came from a private agreement between two independent legal parties. UPC said the proposal was unacceptable because it violated the rights and interests of its subscribers.

The music labels claim they had "experts" carry out a "48-hour scan" of the two ISPs' networks which found BT had about 45,000 copyright infringements per month, and UPC with 75,000 per month. IRMA is demanding injunctions against the ISPs from making copyrighted works available to the public, the Irish Times reports.

Both companies claim they don't condone P2P piracy, but don't believe current law dictates it's the ISP's job to police the internet on behalf of the music industry. ®

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